DCU develop a new app to help with revision

Niamh Quinlan

DCU’s new Help-Me-Watch app could be every students’ saving grace during exam time.

Students’ home environment isn’t suited for lectures, your bedroom isn’t a classroom. And with the library being closed due to Covid guidelines, revision could also be difficult depending on your home environment.

A team of researchers in DCU’s Faculty of Engineering and Computing and the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics developed the app which can be downloaded onto phones and laptops. The app will provide tailored video summaries to students attending online, synchronous zoom lectures, tutorials, workshops and lab sessions.

Help-Me-Watch uses artificial intelligence (AI) that records a student’s attention during online classes and then generates personalised video summaries for that student.

“Early findings on the use of the app are that students find it will likely be of most benefit later in the semester when it comes to revision for their examinations,” said Professor Alan Smeaton, of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and Founding Director of Insight. “Students, owing to the pivot to online learning because of COVID-19 may be faced with dozens of hours of video recordings of live sessions for each of their modules.”

“Help-Me-Watch will help them find the crucial parts in those video recordings that they may have missed and may help to take some of the stress out of exam revision,” he also said.

The app will not fall behind a paywall and will remain free to use. It is currently only available to DCU students.

The app began development in the summer of 2020 in response to feedback from students after the arrival of Covid-19. Many students were surrounded by distractions at home, from everything to sharing rooms with siblings to barking dogs and answering doors for deliveries.

The Help-Me-Watch website explains everything students (and lecturers) need to know about how to download, set up and use the app.

The Help-Me-Watch team is advertising mainly to DCU faculty. “It has to be picked up and used by Lecturers before any students in a module can use it so the Lecturer is the target for us,” said Professor Smeaton.

So far, 10 lecturers have downloaded the app.

Róisín Greenan, a final year student in DCU, thinks the app sounds like a great idea, considering how easy it is to get distracted. “My lectures aren’t recorded,” she said. “And also, I’m dyslexic, so sometimes I find it really hard to like stay concentrated, but mainly taking down notes as fast as the lecturer is speaking, so I feel like this would be really helpful for that.”

“It’s just difficult sometimes to work at that speed.”

Niamh Quinlan

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